Twenty-six years after it pioneered the IVF method of assisted reproduction in Nigeria, the Lagos University Teaching Hospital (LUTH) has re-commissioned its IVF centre. The commissioning was witnessed by Prof. Osato Giwa-Osagie and Prof. Oladapo Ashiru, the two doctors that spearheaded the hospital’s efforts which resulted in the delivery of the country’s first IVF baby on March 17, 1989.
Speaking at the occasion, a visibly elated Prof. Giwa-Osagie recounted that the LUTH IVF clinic, first established in the 90s, was the first in West, East and Central Africa. According to him, only Egypt and South Africa were the two African countries that had IVF services before Nigeria “in IVF history.”
The LUTH clinic he further said, treated 20 patients between 1984 and 1994 but had to fold up due to “lack of institutional and government support.” Since then, he said, IVF services in Nigeria were provided mainly by private hospitals.
Prof Giwa-Osagie said the full commencement of IVF services at LUTH had to wait for the ideal environment to be provided by the management. The perfect environment include sterile atmosphere for the laboratory and theatre; tiling of the laboratory and theatre; design of fee structure; acquisition of modern equipment; dedicated workforce and recruitment of patients.
The hospital, now known as LUTH Assisted Fertility Clinic (AFC), he said, is setting a goal of producing not less than 200 babies through IVF per annum.
“I am proud that this is coming to be as there is no short cut in life. Good legacies are built through perseverance, consistency and determination. The reopening of this clinic put history in the right perspective.
“This marks a return of IVF where it started in West Africa. We are set to charge lesser price than what obtains in the private sector. There are now about 45 IVF centres in the country,” he said.
On his part, Prof. Ashiru advised that international standard should be maintained in the clinic. This, he said, should include the training of embryologists, who will be certified and willing to train other embryologists.
“Success of IVF is in the laboratory. World Health Organisation (WHO) standard should be brought back here, including documentation,” he said.
LUTH’s Chief Medical Director (CMD), Prof Chris Bode, pledged that the clinic would make its services affordable, accessible and available.